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Bright Lights, Big Brands: OOH in the Nightlife Environment

Livia Brown

Owner what3things

Editor-in Chief

Co-Founder Beyond the Billboard

Livia Brown

Livia Brown

24 June . 3 min read . Opinion

(Credit: Konka, Soweto)

While a wide range of products is advertised in the nightlife scene, such as banking, fashion, and insurance brands, alcohol brands notably dominate. This article focuses on the strategic insights in this area. Throughout my career, some of the most memorable OOH campaigns have been within the alcohol category, where the boundaries have been stretched, resulting in exceptional OOH campaigns.

I am sure we can all recall standout OOH campaigns in the alcohol category. From my experience, alcohol brands are not afraid to push the boundaries to get the best out of their OOH campaigns. Simply put, they go big.

(Credit: Wide Open site, image from Outdoor Auditors)

Innovation is always a top priority, and among all the brands I have worked with, this category stands out when it comes to the complexity of connecting authentically with their audiences. To drive brand awareness across multiple points of consumption along their consumer’s journey, these brands need to not only be present but also make a big impression and connect quickly before consumers are drawn to the next brand in this highly competitive category.

Alcohol brands also push their media agencies and partner relationships to the maximum. The stakes are high due to the complex audiences and landscape, and they need to be BIGGER, faster, and first.

As an OOH expert, the primary job is to create media campaigns that target the right audience in the right place while they are on the move or out of their homes. Keeping the consumer journey top of mind is crucial when crafting successful OOH strategies.

When creating OOH strategies for alcohol brands, it’s akin to crafting a great cocktail—there are specific ingredients and a defined method that need to be followed in a particular order to get the mix just right.

Must-Win Outlets


Depending on the client, there are various terms for this, but it essentially refers to a list of priority venues where the client wants to push sales, grow relationships, or ensure their product is top of mind. This is critical first-party data to include when building out your location and OOH strategy. It provides a blueprint of key areas and venues that need OOH activity. The media team, client marketing team, and client trade teams need to work exceptionally closely to ensure product availability at these must-win locations and align any other trade activity, such as product sampling or branded collateral (e.g., branded umbrellas, lounge takeovers), with the media exposure.

From a strategic perspective, there are various options for targeting the nightlife crowd. Here are two key phases:

  1. Pre-March Phase: Targeting consumers at bottle stores and during at-home/party consumption phases to influence purchasing decisions before they head out.
  2. At Venue Phase: Targeting people at restaurants, bars, and taverns where the occasion is more social. This could be on a pre-drink basis or, for some of the a bottle (or three) for the table. This phase emphasises the transition from home consumption to on-occasion consumption.


The Magic of On-Consumption Targeting

(Credit: Fullmoon Media)

Targeting audiences during their downtime and in moments where the product is available for purchase presents a certain magic. You are communicating to a captive audience, often at pedestrian/eye level, creating opportunities for engaging and interactive campaigns. Audiences can engage easily, opening the door for content creation that can extend beyond the venue itself. Audience engagement is not only possible but welcomed in this space, and consumers are often more than eager to engage.

See below some campaigns where audience engagement for the alcohol category come to life:

Your OOH strategy for this category should encompass efforts outside of the nightlife occasion and focus on building up to the moment of purchase. This involves brand building and creating reasons to believe long before a consumer steps into a bottle store or a bar. This connection is the foundation for effective and impactful marketing that resonates with consumers both inside and outside the nightlife environment.

Livia is passionate about working with people and driving business results through doing things differently. She has experience in the media industry and until recently was the General Manager for Posterscope South Africa, the largest Specialist Out of Home media agency in South Africa, part of the dentsu media group. Livia drove the agency to success through putting her team first and knowing the importance of early adoption and introduction to industry leading data, tech and tools and a “if it doesn’t exist, I will build it” attitude. 

Livia is an industry leader in the Out of Home media space and has marketing expertise that comes from over 12 years of working on major brands in the following industries: FMCG, Quick Service Restaurants, Airlines, Banking, Alcohol and Insurance.